Bluets (Anglais) Broché – 1 octobre 2009
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"It is, perhaps, my way of making my life feel "in progress" rather than a sleeve of ash falling off a lit cigarette."
"And it must also be admitted that hitting the wall or wandering off in the wrong direction or tearing off the blindfold is as much a part of the game as is pinning the tail on the donkey."
"And if 'saturation' means that one simply could not absorb or contain one single drop more, why does 'saturation' not bring with it a connotation of satisfaction, either in concept, or in experience?"
"But a bouquet is no homage to the bush."
"Imagine someone saying, "our fundamental situation is joyful." Now imagine believing it."
Here's excerpt that prompted me to buy this book, "Of course, you could also just take off the blindfold and say, 'I think this game is stupid, and I'm not playing it anymore'. And it must also be admitted that hitting the wall or wandering off in the wrong direction or tearing off the blindfold is as much a part of the game as is pinning the tail on the donkey". I read that in 2011 and I was sold. It became my bath book, my beach book, my bus book. It's like reading someone's grocery list; it's easy and short and if you like sitting in a pool of sorrow once and a while Nelson's right there with you, until you choose to get out of it.
I also brought this book to jury duty. I went though security and put it in the plastic tub which smelled like pee and went through the metal detector- Stepped out to the wood paneled hallway, which seemed to be making fun of itself it was so ugly- sat in a large room with people pretending to be way too important to be there. My name was called, I went with my group to the court room. It's like the first day of school where no one talks to each other. The judge comes out and starts speaking another language. (We should all really know more about the law). It was a DUI case. And so I read Bluets in between excuses to get out of jury duty. The law student with the Berkeley shirt said "I hate cops", the frazzled grey haired woman "unemployed and sick". I looked down to Bluets, "I have been trying, for some times now, to find dignity in my loneliness. I have been finding this hard to do". Up again to the anthropology major, "Serving on a jury would be an honor". I remember really not wanting my name to be called, and it wasn't. This book got me through jury duty, and also a more self-indulgent time.
The book is a philosophical and personal exploration of what the color blue has done to Nelson. Despite the exhaustion, Bluets wears its hybrid/fragmented dress well, showing its seams and much enthralled by its wanderlust, an aesthetic runway that constantly leads Nelson to find new ideas, images, and expressions.
The text is fragmentary but not disconnected, certainly not a series of discrete contextless meditations or aphorisms in the style of Marcus Aurelius. Nelson lists insights, hers and others', to convey her learning and her vexation. She discovers links between many blues and their associations. As a result, the boards and nails she uses to build the edifice are readily apparent.
It's also admirable for Nelson to have taken on "blue" considering the work William Gass already achieved in his magnificent meditation "On Being Blue." That Nelson's Bluets holds its own is proof of the value of this incredible book.
The writing is brilliant. Maggie Nelson, whose most recent book, THE ARGONAUTS, is a tour de force, has such a fantastic style. Her writing evoked feelings in me as her writing placed a series of sensory experiences in my mind, each of which was evoked by what she was writing about.
This is a work of philosopy, of aesthetic theory, of cultural criticism, a meditation on what it means to be alive and human, all creatively told by writing about the colour blue. At first glance, it may sound like another form of navel gazing, but that would be a misreading of what's going on. This is a book about the human condition, one that Nelson writes about with style and aplomb.